BOTOX

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A good skin-care regime is so important as we age and goes a long way towards keeping us looking great, but sometimes nature needs a little more dynamic assistance to keep those frown lines and crow’s feet at bay, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Botox treatment is safe and effective, and the results can be absolutely stunning. This is why Botox injections are one of the most commonly used and least invasive cosmetic procedures performed today. The drug itself, botulinum toxin type A injection, is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration to temporarily remove those nasty lines and wrinkles, but did you know that it has many other medical uses too?

Botox injections are used to alleviate cervical dystonia, an uncontrollable tightening of the muscles in the neck. It’s also used to treat a similar condition called blepharospasm which affects the eyelid muscles, and is helpful in easing crossed eyes (strabismus). The drug is also extremely effective in the treatment and control of severe underarm sweating!

The anti-aging results of Botox treatment will of course depend upon the skill of the practitioner who holds the needle, but as one Thriving Cougar who has enjoyed the youthful results that twice yearly injections bring, I couldn’t live without it!

Botox – The low-down

Botox is a neurotoxin in purified form which is derived from a specific variety of bacteria; clostridium botulinum. Neurotoxins are dangerous toxic substances which damage or destroy neurons. This can affect the nervous system causing serious illness. Neurotoxins usually enter the human body via ingestion of foodstuff in which the bacteria is present, however when a minute amount of the neurotoxin (not the bacteria) is injected precisely in the right place, the anti-ageing results can be spectacular.

Botox works by temporarily preventing the neurons from “talking” with the muscles wherever it is injected. This stops the muscle tissue from moving beneath the skin and thus prevents the formation of creases and frown lines. A treatment lasts for three to six months, is relatively painless and takes only minutes to administer.

Pros and cons

If you’ve never had Botox before and are considering giving it a try, here are a few basic facts you should be aware of before you take the plunge:

Pros:

Botox injections take only a few minutes; hence it’s sometimes called the “lunch hour facelift.” The treatment takes place in a doctor’s surgery or cosmetic procedures clinic.


There is no recovery time required so you don’t have to miss out on work or other activities.


Results are almost instantaneous and can sometimes be truly stunning.


The majority of people who have tried Botox injections are extremely happy with the results and return for further treatments.

Cons:

The results are temporary and further treatments will be required to keep the wrinkles at bay.


There may be side effects including bleeding from the injection site and possible minor bruising and doctors recommend not taking any anti-inflammatory product containing ibuprofen or aspirin one week before treatment to minimise this risk.


The cost varies depending upon the practitioner’s experience and where you live but you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 per facial area treated.


There have been deaths as a result of Botox injections, but these cases involved children who were injected with Botox to treat muscle spasm and unfortunately the toxin spread. Thankfully, no deaths have been recorded from the cosmetic use of Botox and the FDA has deemed it to be safe for use as long as dosage is kept within the appropriate guidelines.


There have been cases of some companies and unscrupulous doctors using research-grade botulinum toxin which is potentially dangerous. Such offences are taken very seriously and offenders found guilty have been imprisoned, and rightly so.


Botox: Safety First

The classified pages of glossy women’s magazines and even your local newspaper are crammed with cosmetic surgery clinic ads and it goes without saying that you should carefully check the credentials and reputation of the practice you are considering using for your Botox treatment. Ideally, you should select a doctor who is experienced in facial plastic surgery or dermatology. Find out how long the doctor has been in practice and how many patients he or she has treated with Botox in the past twelve months. It’s well worth checking on-line reviews of practitioners too; if someone has had a bad experience, you can guarantee they’ll want to warn others about it.

Once at the surgery, you can double check that the Botox being used for your procedure is an authentic product by asking to see the vial. Every vial of Botox should have the Allergan hologram on it together with a cap displaying the company’s name. If these identifying marks are not present or the practitioner is reluctant to show you the vial; walk away.

Some people decry the use of cosmetic procedures to keep us looking young and beautiful as we grow older; but if Mother Nature needs a little help in later years, why not?

You can find a listing of approved US cosmetic surgeons in your area at: http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org

By Alison Page

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